Lynxes are medium-sized wild cats found throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. They’re ambush predators that attack prey after silently stalking it. While the smaller species of lynxes hunt snowshoe hares, the larger ones bring down species of deer. How big is a lynx and how does it measure up to other members of the Felidae family?
See how the lynx compares to the largest domestic cat as well as some of the other big cats that exist in the world today.
Summary of the Size of a Lynx with Other Cats
|Largest Domestic Cat
|About 30 pounds
|3 to 4.1 feet
|18 to 66 pounds
|2.5 to 4.3 feet
|79 to 350 pounds
|3.5 to 6.2 feet
|264 to 550 pounds
|4.7 to 8.2 feet
|590 to 660 pounds
|5 to 10.5 feet
How Big Is a Lynx Compared with Other Felids?
The average lynx is a medium-sized wild cat. Using ambushes to attack prey allows them to land a quick, deadly bite to the throat. In that respect, they’re much like other felids. However, when looking at how big a lynx is compared to other cats, they do not have the size and power needed to take down large very prey.
Instead, they rely on their speed to help them take down smaller prey like snowshoe hares and occasionally larger creatures, like mule deer and white-tailed deer. Successfully attacking and killing deer takes a lot of effort, and the process may not always be successful.
Nevertheless, these animals are nothing if not tenacious, but let’s take a closer look at how they measure up to the other famous wild cats.
1. Domestic Cat
Domestic cats are found throughout the world. The largest domestic cats can weigh about 30 pounds and grow slightly over 4 feet long, including their tails. Most cats don’t reach those measures, though. At least, healthy domestic cats do not.
These domesticated felines rely on humans for most of their meals and spend their time lounging around. However, they’re no slouches when it comes to hunting. Domestic cats kill an average of 2.4 billion birds per year around the world. Still, they are much smaller than the average lynx.
The average lynx can weigh anywhere from 18 to 66 pounds and measure from 2.5 to 4.3 feet long as an adult. The bobcat and the Canada lynx are the smallest species while the Eurasian lynx is the largest. This species can stand upwards of 2.5 feet tall as well. These animals tend to live alone and only come together to mate.
Their padded feet allow these mammals to silently sneak up on their prey before attacking. A few cases of a human getting a little too close for comfort have led to lynx attacks. However, lynxes do not kill humans. At least, there are no records of humans dying from a lynx attack. That doesn’t necessarily mean lynxes are harmless or should be kept as pets, though.
They have the potential to do serious damage to humans with their teeth and claws.
Jaguars are the only member of the “big cats” in the Americas. Their range extends from Mexico to Argentina. Jaguars are larger and deadlier than cougars, and they make a lynx seem like a domestic cat by comparison. The average jaguar can measure between 3.5 and 6.2 feet long and weighs about 79 to 350 pounds. They’re not very tall creatures, standing just about 2.2 to 2.5 feet tall at the shoulder.
While that measure of height is not much different than a lynx, these animals are far more powerful. Jaguars hunt deer, caiman, and various other creatures. Like other large cats, jaguars stalk and leap at their prey. While most big cats bite their prey’s throat, jaguars frequently use their powerful bite and strong teeth to puncture the skull instead.
Jaguars are deadly to humans, too. These cats do not often attack humans. Yet, when a jaguar does hunt a human, the result is often a fatality.
Lions are another member of the Panthera genus, and they’re even bigger than jaguars. The average lion can measure anywhere from 4.7 to 8.2 feet long, stand between 3 and 3.9 feet tall at the shoulder, and weigh from 264 to 550 pounds on average. The size of a lynx compared to these other cats is very small.
Lions are very large, powerful hunters. Even though they can attack and kill prey on their own, they often work with other members of their pride to take down animals that are even larger than them. These social predators are very dangerous because it’s not always just a single one going in for the kill.
These big cats have two methods of attack. Like other members of their family, lions can ambush prey, grab it by the throat, and bring it to the ground to kill. Also, they can engage in cursorial hunting. That is when a group of them pursue, harry, and wear down large prey until it loses the ability or will to fight back. Lions have hunted and killed large numbers of humans throughout history.
Tigers are the biggest members of the Felidae family. They are the largest, most dangerous individual big cats on the planet. These cats are not social like lions. Instead, they mostly live and hunt alone.
Tigers range in size due to their numerous subspecies. Still, they can weigh about 310 to 660 pounds or more, and the largest members of their species can measure 10 feet long including their tail length. These mammals can stand from 2.6 to 3.6 feet tall at the shoulder.
Tigers are ambush predators that attack from stealth and bite the back of the neck or throat. No matter where they land a bite on their prey, their large teeth and powerful bite ensure the creature has little chance of survival. Tigers continue to attack humans even though their population has dwindled. The Champawat tiger alone was responsible for over 400 deaths. These are the strongest big cats on the planet, and they make a lynx look like a stuffed animal.
How big is a lynx compared to other cats? Unless one is comparing them to a domestic cat, they’re not very large at all. Cougars, jaguars, lions, tigers, and other wild cats make them appear small. Still, they are effective predators in their own right, and they are not animals that humans should take lightly.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Lynn_Bystrom
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